The first few months of a baby’s life can be quite overwhelming for new parents (and even experienced parents). When supportive friends and family members offer to help, say yes! If no one offers to help, make a point to ask for what you need. Not sure where to tell them to start?
Here are some ways a friend or family member can lend a hand in those early weeks and months:
- Doing laundry
- Running to the store or doing errands
- Cooking and dropping off meals
- Accompanying parent(s) to baby’s first doctor’s appointment
- Changing diapers
- Addressing baby announcements or thank-you notes
- Listening non-judgmentally
- Caring for baby while parent(s) take a shower or a nap
- Taking care of pets
- Straightening or cleaning the house
- Playing with baby’s older sibling
It’s important for helpers to do just that–help–not to make extra work for the new parents.
Here are some reminders for helpers:
- Leave the house when the parents have had enough company. If you’re staying with the new family, leave the house for a period of time every day to give the parents a break from having an extra person around.
- Don’t hog the baby–let the parents bond with their baby while you focus on helping them by taking care of household tasks.
- Be mindful not to voice your parenting opinions or personal values or to make judgmental statements.
Kristen Kardos, MA Ed., and Kathy McGuigan, MSW, co-founders of RI New Moms Connection, provide affordable, accessible pregnancy and new mom groups throughout Rhode Island. In “Tips for New Moms,” they share their knowledge, resources, and helpful ideas for moms just beginning their journey into parenthood or moms who may need a little refresher.
Editor’s Note: Although “Tips for New Moms” is written with the new mom in mind–to support women in their journey through motherhood–it is certainly not the authors’ intention to exclude dads. Every new parent will find their tips, resources, and insights helpful. I invite all moms and dads to share ideas on how they manage their new role as a parent with Kidoinfo in the comments below.